I heard once that it says somewhere in Chazal that there were certain things or people that HaShem "regretted" (had "charatah") in creating. Although I don't remember which examples were given or if a source was give. Does anyone know of such a statement in Chazal (or perhaps not just one but a few if there are?)


4 Answers 4


Sukkah 52b:

ארבעה מתחרט עליהן הקדוש ברוך הוא שבראם ואלו הם: גלות, כשדים, וישמעאלים ויצר הרע - There are four that the Holy One, Blessed is He, regrets having created. And these are they: The exile, the Chaldeans, the Ishmaelites, and the evil inclination.


any time you find such language about God it is not meant to be taken literally.

the reason is that God knows ahead of time what will happen, so the whole concept of regret does not apply to Him.

  • 3
    this would make a constructive comment, but it doesn't really answer the question, which asks for a statement, not the explanation of Gd's 'regret'
    – Baby Seal
    Jan 23, 2014 at 8:35
  • 1
    Of course this answers the question! I am shocked that I was the first to upvote this answer.
    – Turk Hill
    Nov 14, 2019 at 22:05
  • Is this your own reasoning? It seems obviously correct to me, but would be improved by a source. Nov 15, 2019 at 23:11
  • @LeopoldsaysReinstateMonica i saw it in the ohr hachaim on the torah. forget where exactly
    – michael
    Nov 16, 2019 at 21:06

It is the word "nawkham". To regret, repent or "to console".

It is being used in following verses in the Written Torah

Bereshit 6:6 . and Jehovah repenteth that He hath made man in the earth, and He grieveth Himself--unto His heart.

Bereshit 6:7 And Jehovah saith, 'I wipe away man whom I have prepared from off the face of the ground, from man unto beast, unto creeping thing, and unto fowl of the heavens, for I have repented that I have made them.'

Shemot 32:12 why do the Egyptians speak, saying, For evil He brought them out to slay them among mountains, and to consume them from off the face of the ground? turn back from the heat of Thine anger, and repent of the evil against Thy people.

Shemot 32:14 and Jehovah repenteth of the evil which He hath spoken of doing to His people.

Bemidbar 23:19 God is not a man--and lieth, And a son of man--and repenteth! Hath He said--and doth He not do it? And spoken--and doth He not confirm it?

Dvarim 32:36 For Jehovah doth judge His people, And for His servants doth repent Himself. For He seeth--the going away of power, And none is restrained and left.


Many biblical statements are not meant to be taken literally.

Genesis 6:6 tells us that G-d “reconsidered that He made man on earth, and He was sad of heart.” If taken at face value, this passage suggests that an all-knowing G-d can change His mind, or worst, have regrets. But can G-d regret? This is contrary to the philosophical understanding of a G-d without regrets. Maimonides said that G-d does not have emotions. This means that G-d does not get angry when you sin. Additionally, I Samuel 15:29 says that G-d is not like man and does not change His mind. thus, the rabbis read the passage as to be speaking metaphorically: human behavior was wrong and their acts had consequences, and it was as if G-d hand changed His mind and decided neglect mercy on them.

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